Returning to School
Morgan O’Sullivan loves working with people. It doesn’t matter whether she’s cutting their hair, caring for their health or helping them get acclimated to college life.
She graduated from the Aveda Institute
in the mid-1990s and went on to work at several salons. Shortly after the turn of the millennium, Morgan found herself working at a Minneapolis salon with Janet Dawson, an MCTC instructor. They worked together well and formed a strong business relationship. In 2005, Janet passed away from cancer—but left the title of her salon to Morgan. In that moment, Morgan became a business owner.
“It’s a lot of work to own your own business,” Morgan said.
She appeared on radio shows, ran advertisements in magazines and participated in nonprofit work in order to promote her business. It was difficult work. At times she worried more about her bank account balance than her clients. Although passionate about her career, Morgan felt the stress of the industry and recognized a need for change. She wanted something to fall back on.
From Hair Care to Healthcare
And so the business-owning hairdresser looked at nursing. “It’s not uncommon for hairdressers to transition to nursing, and vice versa, because both are very client-oriented,” she said. “The end goal is to make sure the client gets what they need, no matter who it is.”
“As a hairdresser you never know who’s going to be in your chair, and as a nurse you never know who’s going to be on your clipboard,” she said.
After being referred by a friend to MCTC, Morgan took a tour of the campus in 2011 and was impressed. She was nervous about returning to college as an older student, but soon realized there are many MCTC students starting second—or even third—careers.
“From what I’ve seen, people come here for the quality programs and for the incredible location,” she said.
Morgan has stayed active and involved in the student community during her time at MCTC, holding positions that put her face to face with each incoming cohort of students. When elected the president of the Student Senate in 2012, she participated in an effort to acquire computers available for students on the second floor of the Helland Student Center. Later, as director of the Student Life Budget Committee, she helped divvy out budgets to student clubs and organizations.
“It’s really important to get involved in something when you’re here,” she said. “Being involved makes you feel more accepted.”
Morgan is always looking for ways to reach out and help students navigating their way at MCTC. She has the opportunity to do this daily in her current role as a Student Life student worker. She remembers how she felt in her first months as a new student.
“Sometimes I felt like I was on the outside looking in the window,” she said. “Now, thanks to the guidance I received from my mentors, I am on the inside looking out to my success on my new path.”
Published January 2015